The Blackhawks flew to Denver and lost 5-1 to the Avalanche.
While the score was ugly, the play wasn’t nearly as one-sided as the final tally would indicate. But the bigger concern will be the health of Bryan Bickell, who was injured on his fourth shift of the night.
Already without Marian Hossa, Bickell appeared to lose an edge and crashed into the net. He was slow to get up, but did skate off on his own. He left the bench immediately, however, and did not return to the game.
After the game, coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell might be “a little more than day-to-day,” and indicated that the salary cap would play a factor moving forward.
With Bickell out of the lineup, the Hawks were limited to 11 forwards – including Sheldon Brookbank – for the remainder of the night. And many of those forwards had a less-than-stellar evening in Denver.
Ben Smith had a nice night, but failed to convert on a number of good scoring chances. Smith was credited with three shots on net in the game, but failed to register a point.
Brandon Saad had the one Chicago goal in the game, his sixth of the season. With the primary assist on the goal, Patrick Kane extended his point streak to eight games on his 25th birthday.
Brent Seabrook led the team with three hits and two takeaways, but an awful bounce off the end boards bounced off the post and straight out in front of the net where Paul Stastny was waiting to open the scoring in the first period. After Gabriel Landeskog and John Mitchell scored 56 seconds apart later in the period, Quenneville decided to make a change in net.
Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing three goals against seven shots in 13:17. Antti Raanta allowed two more goals against 16 shots in his NHL debut.
Quenneville said both of his netminders were “just OK” after the game, but acknowledged that pulling Crawford wasn’t putting the blame for the first three goals on the starter. The Hawks gave the puck away and watched too much in the first period, and the Avs took advantage.
The Hawks are back on the ice in Winnipeg on Thursday.